• SeniorNews

What’s the Difference: Assisted Living – RCAC, CBRF and MC

By Azura Memory Care

Assisted living facilities are residential environments designed to enhance the independence of their senior populations. Supportive services are offered to ensure each resident’s needs are met. These services usually include help with activities of daily living, meal options, an activity program, and health monitoring as well as daily medication management. When a person can no longer live independently but does not need the skilled services of a nursing home or hospital, assisted living is a perfect option.

A Residential Care Apartment Complex (RCAC) provides residents with independent apartments, all of which have an individual lockable entrance, a kitchenette, sleeping and living areas, and a private bathroom with a shower. Personal, supportive and nursing services are available up to 28 hours per week to meet the needs, abilities and preferences of individual residents. RCAC’s focus on protecting residents’ rights, respecting their privacy, and enhancing their self-reliance. Care staff is on site at all times. The minimum interior apartment space is 250 square feet.

A Community Based Residential Facility (CBRF) is categorized by size and the residents’ care needs. Supportive, protective or supervisory services allow an individual to live in a small, homelike environment. Some CBRF’s are devoted specifically to dementia/memory care or other specialized services. CBRF’s help residents maintain or gain functional independence in a setting that allows maximum freedom while ensuring personal safety. Up to 3 hours of nursing care per week may be provided. Care staff is on site at all times. The minimum room size in 60-100 square feet. Bathrooms and shower facilities may be shared among residents.

PLEASE NOTE: CBRF’s and RCAC’s differ in the amount and types of regulations imposed by the state. RCAC’s generally have greater latitude in operational decisions and internal policies. CBRF’s are surveyed on a scheduled basis, while RCAC’s may be surveyed but are usually not part of a regular rotational survey calendar. CBRF’s are licensed. RCAC’s may choose to be either registered or certified – certification allows for Medicaid billing, while registration does not. All CBRF’s and RCAC’s may differ in the specific services they offer.

CBRF - Memory Care (MC): Memory Care units specialize in caring for persons with various dementias, most commonly Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease or Vascular Dementia (dementia caused by strokes). Memory Care units are often part of a larger Assisted Living community, which is home to residents needing physical assistance with daily activities, but whom are not cognitively impaired. There are some communities that specialize in Memory Care only, and do not admit persons whom are not cognitively impaired. The type of care provided in a memory care unit is the same type of care provided to the general population of an Assisted Living community, but on a much more intense level. For example, a person with dementia may require 40 minutes of caregiver assistance to dress and bathe, versus maybe 5-10 minutes needed by someone not having cognitive impairment. The person with memory impairment may need to be assisted and monitored 24/7, versus being checked in on 3 or 4 times a day. Caregivers are more familiar with the behaviors associated with memory impairments and interact positively to achieve desired goals.

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